MONTE VISTA — A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for Outcalt Event and Conference at SLV Ski Hi Complex on Friday, Feb. 25. A project that was many years in the making was complete, and Mayor Dale Becker cut the ribbon with a smile, surrounded by the project’s key contributors — Karla Shriver and Kathy Rogers-Woods.
The project began as a vision in 2006, chairperson for the Friends of Ski Hi Committee Shriver said.
“The vision had been there for a really long time, the only thing that was not there was the funding,” she said. On Sept. 4, 2019, Friends of Ski Hi presented the preliminary design for the new multi-purpose building to the Monte Vista City Council, which would include the demolition of the old building and replacement of the building, with a newer 30,000 square foot structure, complete with a large multi-purpose area and conference center.
In 2020, Friends of Ski Hi announced that the new building had been ordered, and the demolition for the old building took place in 2021. The goal was to have the building completed by March of 2021, but COVID restrictions and limitations slowed construction.
With Alcon Construction of Alamosa and Monte Vista Public Works working on the plan, and many generous donations from the community, the project came together, and was ready for the public, hosting its first event in February with the Southern Rocky Mountain Agriculture Conference and Tradeshow.
There were nearly 500 people in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, including local politicians. State Senator Cleave Simpson was present and excited about the ceremony.
“This is an amazing accomplishment, and it reinforces what this community can do when they come together,” he said. “This is a really great place to come and gather and there is so much history here, it's amazing to see what we can do as a community when we put our minds and hearts together.”
Ski Hi Events Manager Stephanie Ruybal was all smiles when asked about the ceremony.
“I am so excited,” she said. “Our team did a great job getting this all set up today, and we are really excited to get to share this with the whole Valley. We hope that people can see themselves having an event here, whether it’s a birthday party or a wedding reception. We are really excited to share this with everyone.”
Monte Vista Police Department Chief George Dingfelder said, “Having been a part of this, and being the City Manager for a while it's pretty cool to see this wonderful and incredible facility really come together, and to see this project come full circle. “
Mayor Becker was pleased with the outcome of the building.
“I know we still have some touch-up work on the building, but the completion is exciting and long-awaited,” he said.
Public Works Director Robert Vance said, “This is fantastic, it’s been a really good process, I got into the project really late, but I’ve been really proud of how everything has gone and how it overall looks.”
There were eight guest speakers at the ceremony, including Rogers-Woods, who spoke about Shriver, calling her the heart and visionary of the project and thanking her for all she had done to get the project off the ground.
“Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this project, you know this space means something to everyone in this room, everyone in here helped complete this project, so we applaud you and thank you for all of your help in completing this project. This project is a Valley effort,” Rogers-Woods said.
Shriver spoke at the ceremony, thanking everyone and the Outcalt Foundation and its generous help with the project.
“Ralph Outcalt was not one who wanted his name attached to a building for recognition, he just wanted to support what was right for the Valley,” Shriver said. “Today, we celebrate how the whole San Luis Valley Region came together to accomplish this much-needed project.”
Shriver also explained how the Alcon Construction team worked on the project even with it not being fully funded.
“What construction team would start an $8.6-million project, and it is not fully funded, Alcon,” Shriver said. “All of the Alcon team has been so great to work with on this project.”
Mark Thomson of Alcon also spoke at the ceremony.
“This was a group project, not only my crew was involved but this was a community effort, and the outcome is absolutely amazing.”
Monte Vista City Manager GiGi Dennis also spoke at the ceremony and thanked Dingfelder for stepping in as Interim City Manager and helping with the project when the former City Manager stepped down in July of 2021.
Dennis also thanked Public Works Director Vance and Event Manager Ruybal and her assistant Oscar Martinez for all that they had done.
Mayor Becker spoke at the ceremony.
“They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I say, it takes the San Luis Valley to raise a building, and by God we did it,” he said.